Biden, McCarthy Fail To Reach Agreement 10 Days Away From Default


Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met Monday to discuss the debt limit amid the looming default deadline, but did not reach an agreement.

McCarthy said he and Biden had a “productive” meeting and may have to meet “everyday” to come to a consensus on the debt limit and spending cuts.

Biden and Congressional leaders have just 10 days to reach an agreement before the predicted June 1 default. The president has met twice with all the leadership team including McCarthy, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and discussions have been ongoing with staff from both branches of government since Tuesday.

Biden returned from his trip to Asia early Sunday, postponing his preplanned trips to Australia and Papua New Guinea, to resume the talks in person. McCarthy has also said the House may have a shorter recess to vote on the debt limit next week, if needed.

US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to the media as he leaves a meeting on the debt ceiling with US President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 22, 2023. US President Joe Biden said he was “optimistic” as he met on May 22, 2023 with top Republican Kevin McCarthy for their first one-on-one talks in months, with just 10 days left to avert a calamitous debt default.
The White House meeting came after Biden returned from a trip to Asia early to hammer out a deal ahead of the US Treasury’s June 1 cutoff date for Congress to authorize more borrowing. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

McCarthy is attempting to tie a raise to the debt ceiling to spending cuts, and wants the government to spend less than they did last fiscal year. He has proposed spending cut policies like establishing new work requirements for those who receive federal subsidies.

Biden expressed frustration at the state of negotiations on Sunday, blaming some “MAGA Republicans” for trying to sabotage his chances of being president again.

“I think there are some MAGA Republicans in the House who know the damage that it would do to the economy and because I am president — and presidents are responsible for everything — Biden would take the blame. And that’s the one way to make sure Biden’s not re-elected,” he said.

The president also argued that he would be “blameless” if the U.S. went into default.

“On the merits, based on what I’ve offered, I would be blameless,” Biden said. “On the politics of it, no one would be blameless. And by the way, that’s one of the — one of the things that some are contemplating.”

Later Sunday, Biden said his call with McCarthy “went well,” pointing to a sense of optimism.

The president has repeatedly announced his intention to use the 14th Amendment — which states the public debt “shall not be questioned” — in an attempt to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally and bypass future Congressional negotiations.

The invocation of the 14th Amendment to address public debt would be unprecedented, and legal experts have argued against its constitutionality. (RELATED: ‘Impeachable’: Legal Experts, GOP Lawmakers Warn Biden Against Invoking 14th Amendment On Debt Ceiling)

On Sunday, Biden said there would be no time to invoke the amendment before June 1, but that he would “find a rationale to take it to the courts” afterwards.